Emil? I too am a flibbertygibbet for Jesus! for Jesus! Please forgive me if it is not you!
His flibbertygibbet for Jesus!
If someone walked up to you on the street, waved a phamplet under your nose and bellowed, “Are you a flibbertygibbet?”, what would you say?
Unless you’re an English lit major, you’d either walk quickly away or ask, “What’s a ‘flibbertygibbet’?”
Until that annoying person explains what is in his mind (or her’s) you can’t actually know whether you fit their category or not. (BTW — a ‘flibbertygibbet’ is an excessively talkative person so once I knew what it meant, I could answer “Yes.”)
If someone walks up to me on the street and asks, “Are you a Christian, brother?”, I really couldn’t answer “Yes” or “No”. Simply put, whatever definition of “Christian” is in that person’s mind is a complete mystery, unless it’s first explained. (And I doubt I’d want to stick around to hear any explanation anyway.)
What is a “Christian”? In popular usage, it may mean dozens of different things — most of which I’m not. According to the online Urban Dictionary, a “True Christian” is “originally a descriptive for a member of Landover Baptist Church (God’s Favorite Church) but also includes those members of the Exclusive Country Club of the Predestined and Sanctified Elect who believes and preaches the Bible IN ITS ENTIRETY… and have no problem telling anyone who isn’t a non-White Anglo-Saxon conservative fundagelical… that God loves them so much He’s going to make sure they burn in an everlasting Hell.”
If THAT’s what’s in the mind of the person accosting me, I’d have to say, no, I’m not a “Christian”. But maybe that person means this: The Christian “has in her head the idea, ‘I must be right and you must be wrong, because I’m a Christian and you’re not. After all, only Christians can know God.’… [This] leads many Christians to think that they have a special connection to God that non-Christians lack, leading them to think that they have God’s special favor and non-Christians don’t. This fuels an elitist attitude that can lead directly to bigotry.”
I’d have to say, according to that definition, that I’m not a “Christian”. But then someone says, “A Christian is someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ.” You’d think I could just say, “Amen, brother!” to that, but then I have a problem wondering what a “follower of Jesus Christ” is. If you say, “A ‘follower’ is a ‘disciple’.” But what is a “disciple”? Am I to assume that both of us would automatically mean the same thing?
No. Probably not. What is a “disciple” in that other guy’s mind? One person says that a disciple of Jesus must be baptized in both water and the Holy Spirit, read the Bible and pray, attend church and take Communion, be a good steward (give offering to the local church) and “prepare for” the Rapture.
In light of that definition, am I a disciple? I don’t think so. So, once again, I’m not a Christian.
What good does it do to claim to others that I’m a “Christian” when it’s unlikely that what others think I mean isn’t at all what I mean. If it means I’m “religious”, then I’m not. If it means I’m a “church-goer”, then I’m not. (I quit years ago. Now I just get together with a few friends and have a party.) If being a Christian means I ascribe to a fundamental set of doctrines, I don’t — and I don’t think that knowing “doctrines” or agreeing to “creeds” has anything to do with being a Christian.
Actually, if I could “define” what I mean by “being a Christian”, I’d have to put it this way: a “Christian” is a person who, through their confidence in Jesus’ Work on the Cross, have been supernaturally made One with Jesus Christ.
End of discussion.
So anyway, the next time someone asks me if I’m a Christian (which occasionally happens, especially on the streets down near the wharves), I think I’ll have to respond, “No — I’m a flibbertygibbet.”
But at least I’m a flibbertygibbet for Jesus!